FAS Roundup: July 2, 2012

FAS in Jordan, UN Centres of Excellence, nuclear deterrence and much more.

From the Blogs

  • Centres of Excellence: The United Nations recently issued a press release stating that the  international body is creating eight “Centres of Excellence” around the world to “help countries mitigate the risks related to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) material, notably by promoting coherent national and regional policies that allowed them to better share information and best practices.” In a new post on the ScienceWonk Blog, Dr. Y discusses ideas and recommendations to make these centers successful.
  • U.S.-Yemen International Science Partnership Project in Jordan: The FAS International Science Partnership (ISP) pilot project hosted a workshop in Amman, Jordan at the Middle East Scientific Institute for Security (MESIS). A team of engineers from the U.S. met with their counterparts from Yemen to collaborate on projects that addressed both countries’ interests in ensuring access to a safe and reliable supply of water and energy. Current projections show that the water situation in Yemen, already stressed, will become dire in the near future. Other daunting challenges lurk in providing reliable access to electricity, especially for those in remote regions. The U.S. has challenges of its own in balancing water-intensive energy and agricultural needs with the imperative of meeting private consumption demands and protecting the environment. Furthermore, regional, seasonal, annual, and even intra-decade variability in water supply makes water management enormously complicated– too complicated for any country to “solve” permanently.

  • How Logical is Nuclear Deterrence?: Dr. Martin Hellman wrote a series of articles that reflects on U.S. nuclear posture and questions whether society’s nuclear optimism is justified which are now available on the ScienceWonk blog. Dr. Hellman is a Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and a member of the FAS Advisory Board for Nuclear Security.
  • A Gun to the Head: Given the enormous national prestige that comes from having nuclear weapons, a nuclear-free world is doubtful. One step in the right direction is a world with few weapons. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is another good step.



  • On June 26, 2012, FAS hosted a luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. regarding oversight of biodefense research. Dr. Matthew Meselson discussed the need for increased oversight of U.S. biodefense research and the benefits this could provide to the international community. Read his presentation and watch the video of the event here.
  • On June 24, 2012, FAS President Dr. Charles Ferguson and Special Projects Director Mr. Mark Jansson spoke to students at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan on the relationship between applied science and technology and security challenges. You can view the presentation slides here. 


FAS in the News

Jun 27: AOL Defense, “Bio-weapons Crusader Calls for Tighter Research Oversight”

Jun 27: The Daily Star, “Syria’s Non-conventional Arms Could Be Up For Grabs as Crisis Rages”

Jun 26: Christian Science Monitor, “Syria’s Chemical Weapons: How Secure Are They?”

Jun 25: Gizmodo, “Do You Live Near a High Containment Biohazard Laboratory?”

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